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Posts Tagged ‘murder’

10 Bodies Later, Police Face Tough Questions in Sowell Case

November 4, 2009 Leave a comment

After serving 15 years in jail for the rape of a 21 year-old female back in 1989, it seems that Anthony Sowell didn’t learn anything when he was released from prison in 2005 except how to kill innocent victims.  And now, after finding ten bodies and one skull in Sowell’s Cleveland home, questions are being raised not at Sowell but at police.

After being released from prison in 2005, Sowell moved into a 3-story house in southeast Cleveland, which he shared with his mother.  A registered sex offender, Sowell was required to check in regularly at the sheriff’s office, and while officers didn’t have the right to enter Sowell’s house, they would occasionally stop by to make sure that he was there.  If you could get past the awful stench that permeated throughout the entire neighborhood, things seemed otherwise quiet and relatively normal…that is, until a woman went to police in late September 2009 to report that she had been raped by Sowell in his home.  Ironically, the last time that police had stopped by to “check up” on Sowell was just hours before the rape was reported.

When police went back with a search warrant and entered Sowell’s home on October 29th, they were surprised to discover six decomposing bodies.  According to Lieutenant Thomas Stacho, one body was found in a shallow grave in the backyard, one body was found in the basement, two bodies were found in a third floor living room, and two bodies were located in an upstairs crawl space.  All of the bodies were identified as black females who had been strangled to death. Police located Sowell approximately one mile from his home on October 31st and immediately arrested him.

According to Powell Caesar, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office, the bodies that were found could have been dead for a matter of months or possibly years.  It will take them time to figure out the identities of some of the victims due to how badly decomposed the bodies are.  Additionally, since the first six bodies were discovered, an additional four have also been found, leading investigators to believe that the total count of victims may not be over just yet.

The bigger question on everyone’s minds, however, is “How is it that police didn’t do something about this earlier, especially when neighbors in the area had been complaining about a foul odor?”

Records show that city councilman, Zack Reed had called the city health department back in 2007 after a resident in Sowell’s neighborhood told him about an odor that “smelled like a dead body”.  For a while, residents thought that the abhorrent odor was coming from a local sausage and head cheese factory named Ray’s Sausage.  Renee Cash, whose family has owned Ray’s Sausage for over 50 years, said that the smell was even offensive to them.  Suspecting that perhaps they were the cause of the odor, they had both their sewer lines and grease traps replaced.  But the smell was still there.

Too Little; Too Late?

The recent charges against Sowell come after years of complaints about Sowell’s frequent attacks on women.  The owner of a local business located just across the street from Sowell’s house, Fawcett Bess, claims that he found Mr. Sowell in the bushes just outside of his home, naked and standing over a woman who was bloodied, beaten and also naked.  Mr. Bess called 911, and an ambulance came to take the woman away.  However, when police showed up over an hour later, they never interviewed Sowell.

The lack of investigation into Sowell is quickly taking center stage as more bodies are being discovered and more questions are being left unanswered.  Had it not been for the recent rape accusation, would police have ever discovered the bodies in Sowell’s home? How many more people would’ve had to die?  Records indicate that it took several weeks to assign an officer to the case involving the woman who accused Sowell of raping her.  Why did it take so long for police to catch on to what was going on?  And more importantly, if police were “checking in” on Sowell all along, occasionally stopping by his home, how could they have missed the unmistakable smell of decomposing bodies? Shouldn’t it have served as a warning that something was amiss?

For more information about criminal investigations, contact Cat’s Eye P.I. today at 919.878.9988.

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Investigator Tries to Find Justice for Murdered Police Officer

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

The trial for murdered police officer, Richard May of the East Palo Alto Police Department has just gotten underway.  Officer May was killed on Saturday, January 7, 2006 when he responded to a report of a disturbance at the Villa Taqueria located at the intersection of Cooley and University Avenue in Palo Alto, CA.  At the time that Officer May responded to the call, he had been conducting a ride-along with, then 16 year-old Explorer, Marco Marquez.

According to various reports, 38 year-old Officer May chased the main suspect (later identified as 26 year-old defendant Alberto Alvarez), who had tried to flee the scene.  When Alvarez finally turned around, he had a gun in his hand and subsequently shot Officer May, fatally injuring him.  Marquez, who had remained in the police car and was uninjured, was the first person to call and report the shooting.  Officer May had served with the East Palo Alto Police Department for 18 months and had over 10 years of experience as a police officer.

Now 19 years-old, Marquez is being questioned about his knowledge of what he witnessed that fateful day.  This information is crucial to this case as the defendant, Alberto Alvarez, faces the death penalty if the jury convicts him of first degree murder of a police officer.  Recently, however, there has been controversy over information that Marquez had told investigators.

In interviews taken from the night of the shooting, Marquez had informed investigators that he actually saw Alvarez fire the first shot and at one point witnessed Officer May pointing his gun at the defendant.  However, recently, Marquez testified that the first shot rang out as Marquez ducked down in the police car after seeing Alvarez with an object in his hand.  He told the court that he saw Officer May put his hand on his gun, but he never actually saw the 38 year-old officer actually pull his weapon from his holster [source].

Today, Alvarez remains in custody without the possibility of bail. He is the first person to face execution in San Mateo County since Scott Peterson’s 2004 trial for the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci.

For more information about criminal investigations, contact Cat’s Eye P.I. today at 919.878.9988.

Annie Le Murder Still Leaves Questions About Motive

September 18, 2009 Leave a comment

A 24 year-old  graduate student of  Yale University’s School of Medicine was brutally murdered just before her wedding day.  Annie Le was set to wed James Widawsky, a 24 year-old physics student at Columbia University, on Sunday, September 13th, but never made it down the aisle. According to the Connecticut medical examiner; on Sunday, September 13th, Le’s body was found stuffed in a crawl space of the research center where she worked in the Yale Medical School complex.  Evidence showed that Le (who only stood at 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighed around 90 lbs) was killed by asphyxiation caused by severe neck trauma.

But who would dare to commit such a heinous crime?

Police have since turned their attention to 24 year-old Raymond Clark III, who worked as an animal laboratory technician at Yale University in the same building as  Le.  Clark worked in a custodial role at the same laboratory where Le conducted research.  One of his duties was cleaning the cages where the experimental mice lived, something which would have brought him into contact with Le. [source] However, investigators first became suspicious of Clark after FBI agents and Yale police were combing the basement of the Yale University laboratory building where Le was last seen.

Among the people searching the lab was Clark.

According to a law enforcement official involved in the investigation, Clark moved among the other officials in an “apparent effort to cover his tracks” [source].  The Hartford Courant reports:

One investigator, among a group of investigators who were in the lab interviewing employees and students shortly after Le disappeared, witnessed Clark trying to hide lab cleaning equipment that they discovered contained blood spatters. Clark was observed cleaning up areas that Le was in before she was reported missing, the law enforcement official said.

While this aroused suspicion among some of the investigators, the final piece that led to Clark’s arrest on September 17, 2009, was the discovery that evidence in both the ceiling and in the crawl space where Le’s body was found contained DNA of both Le and Clark.

As The Evidence Grows, So Does the Question: “Why?”

Adding to the already mounting evidence against Clark, computer records showed that Le had used her Yale ID swipe card to enter the laboratory where she worked on the morning of September 8, 2009.  The Hartford Courant also reported that Clark’s swipe card records showed that he had entered the same room as Le shortly afterwards, indicating that he was the last person to see her alive.  Add, still to this, the fact that Clark failed his polygraph, that there were scratches on his body as well as the fact that he attempted to clean up the crime scene, and you’ve got what seems like a pretty open and shut case.

But there is still the question as to the motive.

Sources say that just hours before Le was reported missing by her roommate, Clark had sent a text message to Le requesting a meeting to discuss the cleanliness of the cages that the research animals were kept in, leading some to believe that the crime may have been linked to an issue of workplace violence.  There are also several other sources which are describing Clark as a “control freak” who often clashed with researchers and viewed the laboratory as his territory.

But still…why Annie Le?

Chris Le had the following to say about his sister after learning about her tragic death:

Stuck in a 4’11 frame, she had a 7′ tall personality.  She will always live on through us.. [source]

For more information about hiring a private investigator for a criminal investigation, contact Cat’s Eye P.I. today at 919.878.9988.